Hopping from one job to another is what job hoppers do. Hopping from one industry or sector to another is what industry hoppers do. The phenomenon of ‘industry hopping’ has become increasingly prevalent. Instead of staying within one industry for an extended period, these industry hoppers actively seek opportunities to explore new fields, gain diverse experiences and broaden their skill set. The trend has become more prevalent in recent years due to the dynamic nature of the job market, changing career expectations and the increasing emphasis on personal growth and development.
These professionals frequently switch between different industries, seeking new challenges, opportunities and growth prospects. As employers, it’s essential to understand the potential benefits and drawbacks of hiring industry hoppers before making any hiring decisions.
Pros of hiring industry hoppers
Adaptability & fresh perspectives: Industry hoppers bring diverse experiences from various sectors, which can introduce fresh perspectives and innovative ideas. Their adaptability is often exceptional as they are used to navigating new environments, making them quick learners and versatile team players.
“They can offer fresh insights and innovative approaches by leveraging best practices from diverse fields. Industry hoppers often possess a strong desire to challenge themselves and continuously learn, driving their growth and contributing positively to the teams they join,”
Pankaj Lochan, CHRO, Navin Fluorine
Pankaj Lochan, CHRO, Navin Fluorine, strongly believes that this exposure to different sectors allows them to understand what drives efficiency and effectiveness beyond just intra-industry benchmarks.
“They can offer fresh insights and innovative approaches by leveraging best practices from diverse fields. Industry hoppers often possess a strong desire to challenge themselves and continuously learn, driving their growth and contributing positively to the teams they join,” says Lochan.
Broader skill set: With exposure to multiple industries, these candidates often possess a broader skill set, encompassing a range of competencies. This cross-functional expertise can be invaluable for problem solving, fostering creativity and contributing to the overall success of the organisation.
Enhanced network and knowledge transfer: Industry hoppers tend to build extensive professional networks across different sectors. By hiring such candidates, companies gain access to new connections and potential partnerships. Moreover, they can facilitate knowledge transfer between industries, helping integrate best practices from one sector into another.
Agility and resilience: Constantly adapting to new environments and challenges instils a sense of agility and resilience in industry workers. They are accustomed to dealing with change and uncertainty, making them more adept at handling unpredictable situations and contributing positively to the company’s growth.
As observed by Mangesh Bhide, senior vice president and HR head, Reliance Jio Infocomm, due to their exposure to diverse sectors such as manufacturing, banking and more, these individuals possess a wide range of skills and a unique ability to view challenges and opportunities from multiple perspectives,
Bhide observes, “This diverse background breaks away from conventional thinking often found in those deeply entrenched in a single industry. Hiring industry hoppers offers several merits for organisations seeking fresh perspectives and innovation. They bring a versatile skill set, adaptability and agility to quickly adjust to new environments. Moreover, their industry-agnostic approach enables them to add value in various sectors, breaking down siloed thinking and fostering a culture of experimentation and innovation.”
Cons of hiring industry hoppers
“On the one hand, these individuals bring diverse experiences and adaptability, making them well-suited for roles requiring varied skill sets and problem-solving capabilities. On the other hand, their frequent job changes may raise concerns about commitment and specialisation”
Praveer Priyadarshi, senior HR leader
Short-term commitment: Industry hoppers have a reputation for short-term commitment. This is a primary cause of concern — as frequent job switches could signal a lack of loyalty or an inability to stick with one organisation long enough to make a significant impact — potentially leading to increased recruitment and training costs for the employer.
Industry knowledge gap: While industry hoppers possess a diverse skill set, they may lack in-depth knowledge of the specific industry they are entering. This knowledge gap can affect decision-making and lead to a longer adjustment period while they get up to speed with industry-specific nuances.
Risk of burnout: Frequent changes in industries can be emotionally and mentally taxing for industry hoppers, leading to potential burnout. This exhaustion may adversely affect their performance and negatively impact their job satisfaction.
Bhide suggests, “While there may be challenges, effective onboarding and integration strategies can ensure successful assimilation, allowing industry hoppers to make valuable contributions and drive business growth in dynamic landscapes.”
Praveer Priyadarshi, senior HR leader, feels that hiring industry hoppers can be a double-edged sword for organisations. “On the one hand, these individuals bring diverse experiences and adaptability, making them well-suited for roles requiring varied skill sets and problem-solving capabilities. On the other hand, their frequent job changes may raise concerns about commitment and specialisation,” points out Priyadarshi.
He goes on to admit, “While their exposure to different industries can lead to innovative approaches and fresh perspectives, they can adversely impact roles that require deep expertise in a specific field”.
Therefore, “striking a balance between the benefits and drawbacks is essential for companies to make informed decisions and find the right fit for each position,” opines Priyadarshi.
“While there may be challenges, effective onboarding and integration strategies can ensure successful assimilation, allowing industry hoppers to make valuable contributions and drive business growth in dynamic landscapes.”
Mangesh Bhide, senior vice president and HR head, Reliance Jio Infocomm
Hiring industry hoppers can be a double-edged sword, offering both advantages and disadvantages. Organisations should carefully assess their specific needs and goals before making a decision. While industry hoppers can bring fresh perspectives, adaptability and a diverse skill set, the potential drawbacks of short-term commitment, industry knowledge gaps, team integration challenges and the risk of burnout need to be considered.
To maximise the benefits of hiring industry hoppers, companies should implement robust onboarding programmes, offer ongoing training and mentorship and foster a culture that values diversity and innovation. By striking the right balance, companies can leverage the strengths of industry players while mitigating the associated risks, ultimately paving the way for long-term success and growth.